The Borisography: B

Boris A monochrome illustration of this piece appears in Boris but no title, or other information, is given. I'm not aware of it being used for a cover so would guess that it was an interior illustration.

The painting is undated.

Backstage (1987)
Cover art for Starcrossed by Ben Bova (Ace Books, 1988.)
The Baisnath Bone (1997)
1998-Mar Painted for the 1998 Fantasy Calendar.
Ballet Dancers (1969)
This early piece goes back to Boris' commercial artist days. Since it is signed and dated I guess it was produced for a magazine illustration rather than an advertisement.
Baltimore Man (2004) (BJ)
Cover art for… I don't know what - I have no information other than that it was cover art!
The Bandit of Hell's Bend
Cover art for the Ace Books reprint of Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Bandit of Hell's Bend. The book doesn't say when this version was published (it has a copyright date of 1952!) but I think it was 1976.
Bar Girl
According to Fantasy Art Techniques this was painted as a sample of his work when Boris first began trying to become a painter of paperback covers.
Barba the Slaver
Cover art for Barba the Slaver by Dael Forest (Ballantine Books, 1978) which is book #1 in his Slaves of the Empire series. The title Brotan the Slaver used on two of the sources (the calender uses the name Chained) is obviously an error caused by confusion with Brotan the Breeder, another book in the series.

At left is detail of the vase in the lower left corner of the painting.

The painting is not dated but was probably painted in 1978.

Barbara Gordon (2002) (BJ)
Barbara Gordon is, depending where you look, either the daughter or niece of Commissioner Gordon of Batman fame.

The figure (statue?) in the background is an allusion to her former alter ego of Batgirl. Shortly after reliquishing that role she was shot by The Joker resulting in the spinal injury which confined her to a wheelchair. Thereafter she became the computer/technical expert Oracle who anonymously used her skills to aid law enforcement. As is often the case in comics, death and permanent injury are mere inconveniences so it is no surprise that her full mobility was restored and she once more became Batgirl after a hiatus of four years.

I have no information as why this was painted.

Painted as a poster for the 1977 re-release of the film and also used as cover art on the video release.

One glaring omission is that in the film the character Pygar (extreme right,) played by John Philip Law, is an angel with very big wings. Boris had been looking forward to painting all those feathers so was quite disappointed when the client stipulated that he be painted sans wings!

The painting is signed but undated.

The Barbarian and the Sorcerers / The Barbarian and the Sorceress
Painted as the cover for issue #9 of Savage Sword of Conan (December 1975.)

The first known title for this piece was The Barbarian and the Sorcerers but more recently the last word has become Sorceress (possibly due to a typing error?)

Probably painted in 1975.

Barbarian King - underpainting
Boris This was painted for the back cover of Boris. It is an underpainting - the final design painted in a sepia on the canvas/board etc. The final painting is worked on top of this hence the description 'underpainting.' In an interview, Boris admitted that the painting did not progress beyond this stage.
Barbarian Queen - preliminary sketch (1984)
B2.43 Preliminary artwork for the film Barbarian Queen.

Althought the sketch is dated 1985, the painting based on it was actually completed in 1984! (See the two entries below for more information.) I believe that this is one of a number of undated sketches that, for whatever reason, were retrospectively dated 1985. Clearly, in this case (and others which are separately identified,) the date is wrong.

Barbarian Queen (1984)
Painted as a poster for the film Barbarian Queen.

This is the original version of the painting based on the preliminary artwork (see above.) It was used for the initial film advertising and I have also seen it used for more recent video/DVD releases of the film. It was subsequently overpainted and redated 1985: see the next painting below.

Barbarian Queen (1985)
FAT 79
As detailed above, this was painted as a poster for the Barbarian Queen film. Presumably at the client's request, the original artwork was overpainted with the foreground mist and enhanced lightning. This obliterated the original signature so Boris re-signed it and redated it as 1985. The new version was then used to promote the film although the original version was used subsequently too!
Barbarian Queen II (1988)
B1.44 Painted as a poster for the movie Barbarian Queen II which bore the tagline The Empress Strikes Back.
Barsoom (2008) (BJ)
Drawn for a private commission, it seems to have been produced simultaneously with, or immediately before, the painting of the same name. Although it is a vertical format whilst the painting is horizontal the two works are very similar in design – click here to see the painting.
CD2 Cover art for the Sega Genesis version of the video game Hardball (Accolade, 1991.) A poster of the painting was also available to purchasers of the game.

This piece is listed by the old Imaginistix website as being by Julie Bell and images from there, and the CD, do indeed bear her signature but the game's box clearly proclaims that the artwork was by Boris, it carries his signature thereon and it advertises the optional poster "… By Boris Vallejo." Since the box and poster versions are signed in different places I surmise that the original artwork is probably unsigned. I had noticed that other artwork featured on the website also carried signatures where none had existed before so my conclusion is that the error originated with Imaginistix and has not subsequently been corrected.

The Julie Bell version is dated 1991 whilst the Boris one is undated. That year is consistent with the game's release.

Basilisk (1990)
After he had painted this, Boris was informed by one of Julie Bell's sons that the mythical Basilisk was supposed to fit into the palm of one's hand. This remains Boris' interpretation, whatever the correct scale of the creature.
The Battle of the Walking Dead
Painted as the cover for issue #1 of Savage Sword of Conan (August 1974.)

Probably painted in 1974 when Boris was still comparatively new to the fantasy scene. Such was the impact of this cover that he was commissioned to paint a further seven covers, a total of eight paintings for the first 15 issues of the magazine.

Cover art for the Star Trek novel Battlestations! by Diane Carey (Pocket Books, 1991,) the sequel to her book Dreadnought! which also featured a Boris cover (plus a final exclamation mark in the title.)

There is no sign of any signature on the cover but we can assume it was painted in 1986 or maybe 1985.

Beast (1995)
MM96.02 This painting for the Marvel Masterpieces '96 (Fleer/Skybox 1996) trading card set was executed in 1995.
The Beast and the Butterfly (1987)
Cover art for Araminta Station by Jack Vance (Tor Books, 1988.)
Beastmaster (2009) (BJ)
As can be seen, this is the cover art for Beastmaster: Myth by Richard A knaak and Sylvio Tebet (Pocket Books, 2009.)

An edited version of the painting was used in the 2015 2015 Fantasy Calendar under the title The Standoff

The Beau and the Bluestocking
Boris2 Cover art for The Beau and the Bluestocking by Alice Chetwynd Ley (Ballantine Books, 1977.)

This is one of six covers Boris painted for this author. It would seem that at the same time as this was published Ballantine also decided to revive five of her other titles by giving them new Boris covers.

Beauty (1985)
Cover art for Beauty by Robin McKinley, which is her retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story. The book was originally published in 1978 so this painting appeared on a later edition but I cannot say which one.

This is a wraparound cover, the two panels being seperated by a tree which forms the spine of the book. The lefthand (back) pane shows a traditional fairytale castle viewed through the tree's foliage.

The Beauty and the Beast (1997)
1999-May Painted for the 1999 Fantasy Calendar.
Bed Death
FAT One of two sample paperback covers featured in Fantasy Art Techniques. Being samples for prospective clients they were painted using poster paints rather than the usual oils.
Behind the Walls of Terra
This was painted as a cover for Philip José Farmer's book with the same title. It is part of the World of Tiers series for which Boris has painted all the covers.

Painting is signed but undated, oil, 17 x 27 inches.

Beloved Son (1979)
Cover art for Beloved Son by George Turner (Pocket Books, 1979.)
Painted as a book cover for Berserker by Fred Saberhagen, published by Ace Books.

Painting is not dated.

Berserker Base (1983)
Cover art for Berserker Base, (Tor Books, 1985) an anthology of 13 Berserker stories, seven by Fred Saberhagen and one each from six other authors.

The painting is definitely dated 1983 so I'm not sure why there was such a long delay before it was published - according to Boris the lead-in times for (book) cover art is typically 6-8 weeks.

Berserker Blue Death (1985)
Cover art for Berserker Blue Death by Fred Saberhagen (Tor Books, 1995.)
Berserker Kill (1993)
B4.38 Cover art for Berserker Kill by Fred Saberhagen (Tor Books, 1993.)
Berserker Man (1978)
1981-Aug Cover art for Berserker Man by Fred Saberhagen (Ace Books, 1979.)
Berserker Monk
BJ.46 Cover art for the video game Shannara (Legend Entertainment, 1995.) The game is based upon Terry Brookes' novel Sword of Shannara.
Berserker's Planet (1979)
FAT 34
Cover of Berserker's Planet (Ace Books, 1980) by Fred Saberhagen.

Painted 1979.

Bespin (1980)
The third of three paintings produced for the Coca-Cola company. Printed as an 18" x 24" poster, it was given free to purchasers of Coca-Cola's products at certain fast-food outlets.

This particular painting depicts a scene towards the end of the film when Han Solo has been frozen in Carbonite prior to being sent to Jabba the Hut.

The Best of Leigh Brackett
Book cover for The Best of Leigh Brackett by Leigh Brackett (Ballantine Books, 1978) which is, as you might suppose, a collection of short stories. The particular story illustrated here is Enchantress of Venus.

In addition to being an author, Leigh Bracket was also a well respected screenwriter, working on many quite successful movies including, shortly before her death, The Empire Strikes Back.

Painted 1977.

Betrayal (2006)
2008-Oct This painting is taken from the 2008 Fantasy Calendar. I think it might be a rule that every fantasy calendar should include a maiden being threatened by a ravening beast. The question is: "Will the 7th Cavalry, or similar, get there in time to save her?"

You might like to compare this with the similar painting Condor-Chuqui from 1992.

Big Bang (1983)
Cover art for Berserker Base, (Tor Books, 1985) an anthology of 13 Berserker stories, seven by Fred Saberhagen and one each from six other authors.

The painting is definitely dated 1983 so I'm not sure why there was such a long delay before it was published - according to Boris the lead-in times for (book) cover art is typically 6-8 weeks.

Between Two Worlds (2012)
2014-Jan Used for the month of January in, and cover of, the 2014 Fantasy Calendar.

This is either a composite image or a reworking of Boris' 2006 painting Friends.

Big Bird
A still life that was painted from life, on what Boris describes as a '…a silly afternoon.' rather than a series of photographs. Unusually for Boris this was painted on canvas instead of his normal illustration board.
Big Brother Is Watching (1994)
Painted for the 1995 Fantasy Calendar.

The title phrase comes, of course, from George Orwell's 1984 but what is not known is whether this provided the inspiration for the painting.

Biker (1986)
BJ.85 Another Chess King advertisement.

The model appears to be Boris' son Dorian.

Bill and Hil / Hil and Bill (1996)
Cover art for Penthouse Max Election '96 Special.

For those that don't know, the donkey and elephant are the symbols of the american Democrat and Republican political parties respectively. If you haven't worked it out: Bill Clinton is a Democrat hence the unconscious/dead elephant.

The Bird Hunter (1985)
B4.24 Advertising image for Chess King clothing.
Bird Mistress
2020-Sep Although it appears in the 2020 Fantasy Calendar this was obviously painted for some other purpose – the edges of the calendar version have been stretched sideways to make it fit the required square format.
Bird of Evil (1994)
Painted for the 1996 Fantasy Calendar.
Bird of Prey (1991)
Illustration drawn for the story Eurydice from Boris' book Ladies.
Bird Woman - prelim(1999)
This appears to be a complete drawing but is in fact the preliminary artwork for Mistress of the Skies. The final painting was intended for a decorative tankard and, according to The Ultimate Illustrations, the drawing had to be completed to a higher than normal standard for the benefit of the various craftsmen involved in the project.
Birds Eye View
This was apparently painted for Boris' personal pleasure but later featured in an exhibition.

A modified version was used in the 2017 Fantasy Calendar under the title Winged Creatures.

Although it is undated the exhibition stated that it was painted in 2013.

Birdwoman (2002)
2004-Aug This was the wraparound design for a tankard issued by The Franklin Mint. It, or at least the right-hand portion, was also used for the 2004 Fantasy Calendar.

The preliminary artwork is dated 1999 whereas this painting is dated 2002 so clearly this was a rather protracted project.

Birth (1980)
Painted for Mirage.

CD1 was the source of the title (because the book itself doesn't provide any.)

Bishop (1994)
'94 This 1994 painting was produced for the X-Men '95 Ultra (Fleer, 1994) trading card set.

In addition to the standard sized card this was also reproduced as one of the set's two 6½" x 10" Ultraprint card.

Bishop (1996)
MM96.DI1 This is Boris' reinterpretation of Bishop for the Marvel Masterpieces '96 (Fleer/Skybox 1996) trading card set.
Black Axe (1981)
Mirage Painted for Mirage.
Black Cat (1994)
'95 Painted for the Fleer Spider-Man Premiere 1995 trading card set where it was included as a chase-card. It was Boris' only contribution to the set. Julie also produced one painting for the set.
Black Cat (1995)
MM96.04 Another dynamic painting of Black Cat, this time (inevitably) for the Marvel Masterpieces '96 (Fleer/Skybox 1996) trading card set.
The Black Charger (2000)
This energetic piece was used for the month of March in the 2001 Fantasy Calendar.
Black Fire (1982)
Cover art for one of the early Star Trek novels, Black Fire by Sonni Cooper (Pocket Books, 1983.)
Black Powder (2015)
One of two paintings produced for the Gunslinger range of cigars from the Outlaw Cigar Co of Kansas. This was used as box art for their Black Powder tobacco blend.

See Perdition for the other artwork.

Black Robe (1980)
Mirage Painted for Mirage.
Black Unicorn
Painted for the 1996 Fantasy Calendar.
Blackstar (1994)
This painting was commissioned for the video game Phantasy Star IV (Sega, 1995.) The publication date is that for the USA - the game was originally released in Japan in 1993, the year before the painting was executed.
Blade (1995)
Cover art for Alister the Slayer #1, a comic book.

This was also used as the centrepiece for the 2000 calendar under the title Jiroc of Sten: in this case it has been redated 1999 so I assume that it has been modified in some way but the only differences I can detect are possible extensions to the top and bottom to suit the calendar's centrepiece format.

Blazing In
This painting first appeared in the 2013 Fantasy Calendar.

The painting is neither signed nor dated but Dreamland tells us that the artist was Boris.

Blood of Heroes (1992)
B4.H6 Cover artwork for Battletech: Blood of Heroes by Andrew Keith (Penguin/Roc, 1993.) It was also used in a poster advertising the Battletech series of books.

Boris posed himself for the two male figures.

Blood Red, Sister Rose (1978)
FABV Book cover for Blood Red, Sister Rose by Thomas Keneally (Ballantine Books, 1976,) a historical novel of Joan of Arc.

The year is provided by The Fantastic Art of Boris Vallejo since the painting is signed but not dated.

After the success of Mirage it was suggested that Boris undertake a similar project based on the male, as opposed to the female, body. This drawing was the first artwork for the new project but it foundered because he found that his "…heart wasn't in it."
Bodybuilder (BJ)
This image was downloaded from Boris and Julie's website. It is unsigned nor does it appear in any of their books so I can provide no additional information.
Bodybuilders (2000)
Ult_Ill.134 Ultimate Illustrations tell us that this was a promotional piece advertising an (unstated) bodybuilding contest.
Bodybuilding (1986)
Presumably a promotional piece or magazine illustration.

This was used on card 14, and a promotional card, for the Boris Series 2: The Fantasy Continues trading card set. It was also used on a redemption card for the Boris & Julie: Strokes of Genius card set - lucky finders of this card were able to redeem it for a 22" x 29" (overall size) lithographic print.

Bolla (1992)
Painted for the 1993 Mythology Calendar.

An Albanian mythological creature, the Bolla awakened once a year, on St George's Day, and devoured any human it saw. After twelve years it mutated into the equally fearsome Kulshedra.

Bompas & Parr (2012) (BJ)
Illustration for the book Feasting with Bompas & Parr by Sam Bompas and Harry Parr (Bompas & Parr, 2012.)

This must be something of a first – a Boris painting for a cookbook! It appeared in the book's Introduction.

For those that don't know, Bompas & Parr made their name with gelatine based products, hence the profusion of jellies in the painting, before expanding into other culinary areas.

Boots (1980)
This is one of the Mirage paintings.

Although Mirage does not use any titles, this painting is referred to as Jungle in Boris' introduction. I have since discovered that the french version of the book, which does have some titles, also uses this same name. Despite all this, it is more commonly referred to as Leather Jacket.

Bos primigenius
CD2 Advertising artwork used as a brochure cover for the Bristol Myers pharmaceutical company.

Bos primigenius was the aurochs, the now extinct wild ox, which was the precursor of all domestic cattle.

Both Boris and Boris Book 2 mention the painting but give no further information.

The Boss of Terror
FABV Cover art for The Boss of Terror by Kenneth Robeson (Bantam Books, 1976) book #85 in the Doc Savage series.

FABV gives the year as 1977 but this should probably be 1976 - the year the book was published.

Boxers (1964)
FABV As this piece is dated 1964 I would guess that it was part of Boris' portfolio when he arrived in the USA.
The Boy Who Loved Trees
Cover art for issue #9, dated January 1971, of Vampirella magazine.

This was Boris' first published magazine cover and would have been painted in 1970. His first attempt at fantasy art was sold prior to this piece but, due to the need to write a story around the artwork, it didn't get published until a few months after this one.

The Boy who saved the Stars - preliminary
Boris2 Preliminary artwork for The Boy who saved the Stars which is detailed below. It was used as the title-page of Boris 2.
The Boy who saved the Stars
Final artwork for Doris Vallejo's (Boris' then wife) book The Boy who saved the Stars which was also illustrated by Boris.
The Brain (1980)
Diva Cover art for Windsound, a book by Boris' first wife Doris Vallejo (Berkley, 1981.)
Branched Out (1993)
Painted for the 1995 Fantasy Calendar.

I would guess that the model was Julie Bell's sister Kat, who appears in several of Boris' paintings as well as Julie's.

The Brand
1983-Jul Cover art for Outlaw of Gor by John Norman (Ballantine Books, 1976.)
Bred for War (1994)
BJ.37 Cover art for Battletech: Bred for War by Michael A Stackpole (Penguin/Roc, 1995.)
The Bride (1981)
Painted for Mirage. The title is that given in the calendar.
Bridge to the Future (2003)
2005-Jan A painting from the 2005 Fantasy Calendar wherein it was used for the month of January.
Brinke / Brinke of Destruction (1995)
BJ.23 Cover for Brinke of Destruction I (High Top Publications, 1995) the first of a three-part comic featuring, and partly written by, scream queen Brinke Stevens.

Its worth noting that Boris' wife, Julie Bell, also painted a cover for one of the other two editions.

Broad Jump (1986)
Painted for the 1988 Fantasy Olympics Calendar.

For those of you that don't know, 'Broad Jump' is an archaic name for the 'Long Jump.' In this case, achaic means any time before the early 1960s.

Broken Stone
FAT 52 Cover art for Broken Stone by Richard Monaco (Ace Books, 1985) the second book in his two-part Leitus series. See Runes for the cover art for book #1.

The painting is undated but as the book was published in January 1985 I think it safe to assume that it was painted in 1984.

The Broken Sword (1977)
FAT 89
Book cover for Broken Sword by Poul Anderson (Del Rey Books, 1977.) The subtitle The Troll is given along with the quoted title in the Boris II card set.

The painting is, atypically, not dated, but the card set gives the year 1971 whilst the 1981 calendar says 1977. The latter date is in keeping with the publication of the book so I have assumed it to be correct.

Broken Wing (1997)
1999-Feb Painted for the 1999 Fantasy Calendar.
Bronco (2000)
This energetic piece was used for the month of March in the 2001 Fantasy Calendar.
Brotan the Breeder
Cover art for Brotan the Breeder by Dael Forest (Ballantine Books, 1979) which is book #3 in his Slaves of the Empire series.

The painting is not dated but was probably painted in 1978 since books #2 - #5 were published simultaneously in January 1979.

Brotan the Slaver
Cover art for Barba the Slaver by Dael Forest (Ballantine Books, 1978) which is book #1 in his Slaves of the Empire series. The title used here is obviously an error caused by confusion with Brotan the Breeder (see immediately above.)

At left is detail of the vase in the lower left corner of the painting.

The painting is not dated but was probably painted in 1978.

Brother Sewing Machine
Boris2 This is an example of Boris' advertising artwork from earlier in his career.
Bubbles (1994)
Painted for the 1996 Fantasy Calendar.
Buck Rogers (1979)
B3.37 This was a promotional poster for the Buck Rogers movie, which was never used.
Buffy and Angel (1999)
Issued as a 22" x 29" lithograph by in 2000. Some sources state that this was a limited edition print but the print doesn't indicate this nor is it signed. My suspicion is that it is a print that sold in limited quantities rather than being a limited edition.
Burning (1979)
Painted for Mirage. Although the book gives no titles, in this case one was obtained from the calendar.
Bursting Out (1983)
FAT 13
This was painted for the cover of the April 1984 edition of Heavy Metal.

FAT shows the execution of this painting from start to finish.

Bursting Out [Dragon's Fury] (2008)
Ult_Ill.075 Boris says that he loves the way that Julie draws wings. He also loves dragons so for this piece he took inspration from Julie when drawing the wings.
Busch Gardens
Painted for Busch Gardens, a theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was used to advertise their Loch Ness Monster roller coaster which, when it opened in June 1978, was the tallest and fastest in the world.

[CD1 has a file with the name LOCHNESS.JPG which is, unfortunately, a duplicate of the image for Lavalite World. Presumably it should have contained this image.]

The painting is undated but would probably have been completed in 1978.

Butterfly (1979)
Painted for Mirage.

The original (English) book does not explicitly give any names so this is the title of the accompanying verse. The French version of the book excludes Doris Vallejo's poetry and, in its absence, does provide the same title for the painting.

Butterfly (2000) (BJ)
2002-Dec Cover art for the Mónica Naranjo album Minage. The CD inlay opens out to provide a 36cm x 48cm poster of the artwork.

This was also used in the 2002 Fantasy Calender for both the cover and month of December.

Butterfly and Dragon (1978)
This pen and ink drawing was used as the cover for the 1978 San Diego Comic Con program.

You may want to make a comparison with Boris' drawing Dragon and Butterfly from the Midnight Angels portfolio. The two drawings do have many similarities, and were produced at about the same time, but there is no doubt that they are completely different drawings because the foreground/background details are quite different. However, by superimposing a mirror image of one onto the other, it is clear that the modelling of the girl (sans wings) and dragon is identical so clearly Boris used the same initial artwork for both pieces. I said "modelling" because although the major details are identical the actual detail – the girl's wings, costume, jewellery, hair and the dragon's skin – are very different.

Page last updated: 2021-06-01